GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 50

Antigua is a beautiful city nestled in the mountainous highlands of Guatemala. Karson’s outings with his grandfather included visits to ancient ruins and shopping for gourmet specialty items. “He’s a genius! A musical Einstein!” The Boy needed that piano. Joe fumed, but at home he came around so quickly I thought I saw his head revolve. I held the piano and Karson accidentally banged it. Music jumped out and Karson smiled. He stared at the blinking lights and then flailed and hit the piano keyboard again. Another song played. Joe moved in and propped the keyboard so Karson would have easier access. “He’s a genius,” I murmured. “Maybe he’s like Barbra Streisand, a musical Einstein!” The DNA test was the first occasion when his birth mother would be reunited with Karson. We went to the lab and there was no sign of Rosa, so we entered. There sat Rosa, next to Karson’s birth mother. I handed the baby to Rosa and tried not to stare. His birth mother’s long black hair was braided and tied with a ribbon. She wore traditional clothing: a loose white overblouse and long skirt. Her hands were clasped and glued to her lap as she stared at the floor. Although her sisters were with her, she looked as if she were alone, in another place. A nurse made an announcement, and Rosa stood up holding Karson. The Q’eqchi’-Spanish interpreter led Karson’s birth mother into a room, where, we later learned, it was necessary for her to hold him while the DNA test was administered. Could she hold Karson and not want him? Please don’t let her change her mind today, I prayed. Later, I glimpsed again at Karson’s birth mother, but she didn’t meet my gaze. Her sister did, however, and she nodded her head once, in acknowledgment. We know who you are. It’s all right. I wanted her to know that it wasn’t these two old people who were adopting, that we were stand-ins for our daughter. I wanted her to know how much this child would be loved in our family. I tried to say that and more with one look. I hope she heard me. The following month, Karson went to Family Court, where he and his birth mother would meet again. I had purchased a blanket for Karson I thought was typically Guatemalan; when Rosa had seen it at the DNA test, she had frowned. I’d evidently bought a blanket that Guatemalans with poor taste would buy. This time he was in a plush satin blanket. Rosa nodded approvingly when she received Karson for Family Court. I sat in the lobby of the Westin Hotel, staring at nothing, praying Karson would return. When Rosa reappeared holding a sleeping Karson, my relief was so profound I thought I might faint. He yawned and opened his eyes. Glad to see you too, he said. Where’s The Milk? The adoption then entered PGN (Procuraduría General de la Nación), where the dossier is meticulously examined. If there is a typo, if the notary stamp you got six months ago has now expired, the file is rejected. You have to fix the problem and resubmit. After the paperwork exits PGN, the birth mother has one more chance to change her mind. She didn’t. Kara flew in to join us and meet with U.S. Embassy officials, and then, officially, Karson was our baby! Well, Kara’s baby. You know what I mean. When the day came for Kara and Karson to leave Guatemala for his new home, Joe and I were demoted to grandparent status. Kara stood next to the taxi, and she turned Karson toward me. I nuzzled his neck and inhaled his wonderful baby smell. “Mi corazón,” I whispered to him. Karson burbled. This other lady likes me too and gives me The Milk, he said. I’ll be fine. Kara and I hugged each other and simultaneously broke into tears. “Thank you, Mom,” she cried. “Thank you, sweetie!” I sobbed. Joe once said that most people ponder the meaning of life and wonder if there is a reason for their existence. He said he thought maybe the reason we were here, our purpose in this life, had been to nurture that newborn boy, our nieto (grandson). I now know what the word “bittersweet” means. We were blessed with the opportunity to care for Karson during his first months of life and were thrilled to hand him over to our daughter, his mother, for caregiving throughout the rest of his life. But it was a difficult transition from living with—no, make that living for—our nieto and then returning to life as we’d known it before. I don’t suppose we will ever be the same. I don’t think we should be. G 50 GRAND NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2008

GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008

Grand Magazine - November/December 2008
Grand View
Contents
Isn't It Grand?
Grand Central
Ask Grand
Grand Gestures
Just So We Know
Full House-Full Heart-Full Time
First, Serve
On the Cover: Vice President-Elect Joe Biden
Incredibly Hip High-Tech Gifts
Foreign Exchange
Home (and Hungry!) for the Holidays
Being the Peace
Reunions
Together Time
Read Aloud
Grand Bazaar
Resources
Grand Finale
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Magazine - November/December 2008
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Cover2
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 1
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand View
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 3
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 5
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 6
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 7
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 8
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 9
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 10
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 11
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Isn't It Grand?
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 13
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 14
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Central
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 16
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 17
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 18
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 19
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 20
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 21
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 22
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 23
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Ask Grand
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 25
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Gestures
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 27
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Just So We Know
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 29
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 30
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 31
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Full House-Full Heart-Full Time
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 33
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 34
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 35
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - First, Serve
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 37
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 38
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 39
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - On the Cover: Vice President-Elect Joe Biden
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 41
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 42
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 43
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Incredibly Hip High-Tech Gifts
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 45
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 46
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 47
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Foreign Exchange
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 49
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 50
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 51
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Home (and Hungry!) for the Holidays
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 53
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 54
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 55
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 56
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 57
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Being the Peace
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 59
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Reunions
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 61
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 62
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 63
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 64
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 65
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Together Time
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 67
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Read Aloud
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 69
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 70
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 71
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Bazaar
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 73
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 74
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 75
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Resources
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 77
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 78
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 79
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Finale
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 81
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 82
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Cover3
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Cover4
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